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1.  A Web-Based, Hospital-Wide Health Care-Associated Bloodstream Infection Surveillance and Classification System: Development and Evaluation 
JMIR Medical Informatics  2015;3(3):e31.
Surveillance of health care-associated infections is an essential component of infection prevention programs, but conventional systems are labor intensive and performance dependent.
To develop an automatic surveillance and classification system for health care-associated bloodstream infection (HABSI), and to evaluate its performance by comparing it with a conventional infection control personnel (ICP)-based surveillance system.
We developed a Web-based system that was integrated into the medical information system of a 2200-bed teaching hospital in Taiwan. The system automatically detects and classifies HABSIs.
In this study, the number of computer-detected HABSIs correlated closely with the number of HABSIs detected by ICP by department (n=20; r=.999 P<.001) and by time (n=14; r=.941; P<.001). Compared with reference standards, this system performed excellently with regard to sensitivity (98.16%), specificity (99.96%), positive predictive value (95.81%), and negative predictive value (99.98%). The system enabled decreasing the delay in confirmation of HABSI cases, on average, by 29 days.
This system provides reliable and objective HABSI data for quality indicators, improving the delay caused by a conventional surveillance system.
PMCID: PMC4705006  PMID: 26392229
health care-associated infection; infection control; information systems; surveillance; Web-based services
2.  Complete Sequences of Two Plasmids in a blaNDM-1-Positive Klebsiella oxytoca Isolate from Taiwan 
Genetic determinants of a blaNDM-1-positive, multidrug-resistant bacterial isolate that caused active infection was investigated by DNA sequencing. Two plasmids, pKOX_NDM1 and pKOX-R1, were identified for the Klebsiella oxytoca strain E718. Sequence annotation revealed a blaNDM-1 gene in pKOX_NDM1 and two extended-spectrum β-lactamase producers (blaCTX-M-3 and blaSHV-12) and a wide array of resistance genes in pKOX-R1. These findings highlight the difficulty in treating multidrug-resistant bacterial infections and the potential danger of emerging resistant enterobacteria.
PMCID: PMC3719732  PMID: 23752513
4.  Amebiasis among Persons Who Sought Voluntary Counseling and Testing for Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection: A Case-Control Study 
This case-control study aimed to characterize the factors associated with amebiasis, defined as presence of anti-Entamoeba histolytica antibody titers of ≧ 128 by indirect hemagglutination assay, among persons seeking voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Between April 2006 and September 2009, 57 of 4,802 persons (1.2%) seeking VCT services were seropositive for E. histolytica infection. Compared with 228 seronegative controls, case subjects were older (odds ratio [OR] for per 1-year increase, 1.098; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.036, 1.165), less likely to hold bachelor degree or higher (OR, 0.359; 95% CI, 0.152, 0.846), and were more likely to be men who have sex with men (MSM) (OR, 8.382; 95% CI, 2.050, 34.266) and have oral-anal sex (OR, 4.016; 95% CI, 1.711, 9.427) in multiple logistic regression analysis. The MSM, fecal-oral contamination, lower educational achievement, and older age were associated with increased risk for amebiasis among persons seeking VCT for HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC3005504  PMID: 21212204
5.  Staphylococcal Cassette Chromosome mec in MRSA, Taiwan 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2007;13(3):494-497.
To determine the predominant staphylococcal cassette chromosome (SCC) mec element in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, we typed 190 isolates from a hospital in Taiwan. We found a shift from type IV to type III SCCmec element during 1992–2003, perhaps caused by selective pressure from indiscriminate use of antimicrobial drugs.
PMCID: PMC2725918  PMID: 17552111
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; multilocus sequence typing; SCCmec; dispatch
6.  Detection of SARS-associated Coronavirus in Throat Wash and Saliva in Early Diagnosis 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2004;10(7):1213-1219.
Early detection of SARS-CoV in throat wash and saliva suggests that these specimens are ideal for SARS diagnosis.
The severe acute respiratory syndrome–associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) is thought to be transmitted primarily through dispersal of droplets, but little is known about the load of SARS-CoV in oral droplets. We examined oral specimens, including throat wash and saliva, and found large amounts of SARS-CoV RNA in both throat wash (9.58 x 102 to 5.93 x 106 copies/mL) and saliva (7.08 x 103 to 6.38 x 108 copies/mL) from all specimens of 17 consecutive probable SARS case-patients, supporting the possibility of transmission through oral droplets. Immunofluorescence study showed replication of SARS-CoV in the cells derived from throat wash, demonstrating the possibility of developing a convenient antigen detection assay. This finding, with the high detection rate a median of 4 days after disease onset and before the development of lung lesions in four patients, suggests that throat wash and saliva should be included in sample collection guidelines for SARS diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3323313  PMID: 15324540
severe acute respiratory syndrome; SARS; coronavirus; CoV; Taiwan; perspective
7.  Clinical Manifestations, Laboratory Findings, and Treatment Outcomes of SARS Patients 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2004;10(5):818-824.
Clinical and laboratory data on severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), particularly on the temporal progression of abnormal laboratory findings, are limited. We conducted a prospective study on the clinical, radiologic, and hematologic findings of SARS patients with pneumonia, who were admitted to National Taiwan University Hospital from March 8 to June 15, 2003. Fever was the most frequent initial symptom, followed by cough, myalgia, dyspnea, and diarrhea. Twenty-four patients had various underlying diseases. Most patients had elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) levels and lymphopenia. Other common abnormal laboratory findings included leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, and elevated levels of aminotransferase, lactate dehydrogenase, and creatine kinase. These clinical and laboratory findings were exacerbated in most patients during the second week of disease. The overall case-fatality rate was 19.7%. By multivariate analysis, underlying disease and initial CRP level were predictive of death.
PMCID: PMC3323212  PMID: 15200814
severe acute respiratory syndrome; C-reactive protein; intravenous immunoglobulin
8.  SARS in Hospital Emergency Room 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2004;10(5):782-788.
Thirty-one cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) occurred after exposure in the emergency room at the National Taiwan University Hospital. The index patient was linked to an outbreak at a nearby municipal hospital. Three clusters were identified over a 3-week period. The first cluster (5 patients) and the second cluster (14 patients) occurred among patients, family members, and nursing aids. The third cluster (12 patients) occurred exclusively among healthcare workers. Six healthcare workers had close contact with SARS patients. Six others, with different working patterns, indicated that they did not have contact with a SARS patient. Environmental surveys found 9 of 119 samples of inanimate objects to be positive for SARS coronavirus RNA. These observations indicate that although transmission by direct contact with known SARS patients was responsible for most cases, environmental contamination with the SARS coronavirus may have lead to infection among healthcare workers without documented contact with known hospitalized SARS patients.
PMCID: PMC3323223  PMID: 15200809
Severe acute respiratory syndrome; healthcare workers; environmental contamination; real-time reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction
9.  Infection Control and SARS Transmission among Healthcare Workers, Taiwan 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2004;10(5):895-898.
This study found infrequent transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus to healthcare workers involved in the care of the first five case-patients in Taiwan, despite a substantial number of unprotected exposures. Nonetheless, given that SARS has been highly transmissible on some occasions, we still recommend strict precautions.
PMCID: PMC3323237  PMID: 15200825
Infection-control measures; serologic assays; SARS-CoV
10.  Early Defervescence and SARS Recovery 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2004;10(3):544-545.
PMCID: PMC3322783  PMID: 15116707
SARS; atypical presentation; temporary defervescence
11.  Microbiologic Characteristics, Serologic Responses, and Clinical Manifestations in Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, Taiwan1 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2003;9(9):1163-1167.
The genome of one Taiwanese severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) strain (TW1) was 29,729 nt in length. Viral RNA may persist for some time in patients who seroconvert, and some patients may lack an antibody response (immunoglobulin G) to SARS-CoV >21 days after illness onset. An upsurge of antibody response was associated with the aggravation of respiratory failure.
PMCID: PMC3016775  PMID: 14519257
12.  The Antimicrobial Susceptibility of Klebsiella pneumoniae from Community Settings in Taiwan, a Trend Analysis 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:36280.
Drug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, especially extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)- and/or AmpC β-lactamase-producing strains, is an emerging problem worldwide. However, few data focusing on drug susceptibility of K. pneumoniae from community is available. In this study, we analyzed 1016 K. pneumoniae isolates from outpatients or those visiting emergency rooms collected during 2002–2012 from Taiwan Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance program. Significantly decreased susceptibilities to 3rd generation cephalosporins and ciprofloxacin were found during the study period. By 2012, susceptibility to cefotaxime and ciprofloxacin was 83.6% and 81.6%, respectively. The prevalence of ESBL-producers increased from 4.8% in 2002 to 11.9% in 2012 (P = 0.012), while that of AmpC β-lactamase-producers increased from 0% to 9.5% in the same period (P < 0.001). Phylogenic analysis of the ESBL and AmpC-β-lactamase-producers by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and multi-locus sequence typing revealed wide genetic diversity even among the most common sequence type 11 isolates (33.0%). By multivariate analysis, later study year, elderly, and urine isolates were associated with carriage of ESBL genes, while only urine isolates were associated with carriage of AmpC β-lactamase genes. Further studies are needed to determine which antibiotics are reasonable empirical therapy options for patients presenting with severe sepsis that might be caused by K. pneumoniae.
PMCID: PMC5099973  PMID: 27824151
13.  Prevalence of Integrase Strand Transfer Inhibitors (INSTI) Resistance Mutations in Taiwan 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:35779.
Antiretroviral therapy containing an integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI) plus two NRTIs has become the recommended treatment for antiretroviral-naive HIV-1-infected patients in the updated guidelines. We aimed to determine the prevalence of INSTI-related mutations in Taiwan. Genotypic resistance assays were performed on plasma from ARV-naïve patients (N = 948), ARV-experienced but INSTI-naive patients (N = 359), and raltegravir-experienced patients (N = 63) from 2006 to 2015. Major INSTI mutations were defined according to the IAS-USA list and other substitutions with a Stanford HIVdb score ≧ 10 to at least one INSTI were defined as minor mutations. Of 1307 HIV-1 samples from patients never exposed to INSTIs, the overall prevalence of major resistance mutations to INSTIs was 0.9% (n = 12), with an increase to 1.2% in 2013. Of these 12 sequences, 11 harboured Q148H/K/R, one Y143R, and none N155H. Of 30 sequences (47.6%) with INSTI-resistant mutations from raltegravir-experienced patients, 17 harboured Q148H/K/R, 8 N155H, and 6 Y143C/R. Other than these major mutations, the prevalence of minor mutations were 5.3% and 38.1%, respectively, in ARV-naive and raltegravir-experienced patients. The overall prevalence of INSTI mutations remains low in Taiwan. Surveillance of INSTI resistance is warranted due to circulation of polymorphisms contributing to INSTI resistance and expected increasing use of INSTIs.
PMCID: PMC5078839  PMID: 27779200
14.  Tuberculosis in Healthcare Workers: A Matched Cohort Study in Taiwan 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(12):e0145047.
Proportional mortality ratio data indicate that healthcare workers (HCWs) have an elevated tuberculosis (TB) mortality. Whether this is caused by an increased TB incidence, a worse TB treatment outcome, or a combination of effects, remains unclear. To elucidate the hazard components of occupational TB, we assessed TB incidence and TB treatment outcome among HCWs in Taiwan.
We compared the incidence of active TB among HCWs at a major medical center in Taiwan with that of Taiwan general population in 2004–2012. We also compared the TB treatment outcome of HCWs with that of age/sex-matched non-HCW patients treated at the same hospital, as well as that of nationally registered TB patients.
The standardized TB incidence ratio of the HCWs was 1.9 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.2–2.9), compared with the general population. HCWs with pulmonary TB (n = 30) were less likely to have underlying diseases, delay in diagnosis, delay in treatment, or side effects of treatment, compared with age/sex-matched non-HCW TB patients (n = 120) (all Ps<0.05). The TB treatment outcome of HCWs was significantly better than that of non-HCW patients (TB-related mortality: 0.0% vs. 5.8%, P = 0.008, Mantel-Haenszel test). The standardized TB-related mortality rate was 1.08% [95% CI: 0.96% - 1.20%] for all of the nationally registered TB patients in Taiwan.
HCWs are at increased risk of active TB, compared with general population. To mitigate this occupational hazard, more efforts need to be directed towards the prevention of nosocomial TB transmission. Healthy worker effect, more rapid diagnosis, and less delay in treatment contribute to a lower TB-related mortality in HCWs.
PMCID: PMC4683009  PMID: 26679188
15.  Antimicrobial Non-Susceptibility of Escherichia coli from Outpatients and Patients Visiting Emergency Rooms in Taiwan 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(12):e0144103.
Longitudinal nationwide surveillance data on antimicrobial non-susceptibility and prevalence of extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) as well as AmpC β-lactamases producers among Escherichia coli from different sources in the community settings are limited. Such data may impact treatment practice. The present study investigated E. coli from outpatients and patients visiting emergency rooms collected by the Taiwan Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance (TSAR) program. A total of 3481 E. coli isolates were studied, including 2153 (61.9%) from urine and 1125 (32.3%) from blood samples. These isolates were collected biennially between 2002 and 2012 from a total of 28 hospitals located in different geographic regions of Taiwan. Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) were determined using methods recommended by the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI). The prevalence and factors associated with the presence of ESBL and AmpC β-lactamase-producers were determined. Significant increases in non-susceptibility to most β-lactams and ciprofloxacin occurred during the study period. By 2012, non-susceptibility to cefotaxime and ciprofloxacin reached 21.1% and 26.9%, respectively. The prevalence of ESBL- and AmpC- producers also increased from 4.0% and 5.3%, respectively, in 2002–2004, to 10.7% for both in 2010–2012 (P < 0.001). The predominant ESBL and AmpC β-lactamase genes were CTX-M and CMY-types, respectively. Non-susceptibility of urine isolates to nitrofurantoin remained at around 8% and to fosfomycin was low (0.7%) but to cefazolin (based on the 2014 CLSI urine criteria) increased from 11.5% in 2002–2004 to 23.9% in 2010–2012 (P <0.001). Non-susceptibility of isolates from different specimen types was generally similar, but isolates from elderly patients were significantly more resistant to most antimicrobial agents and associated with the presence of ESBL- and AmpC- β-lactamases. An additional concern is that decreased ciprofloxacin susceptibility (MIC 0.12–1 mg/L) was as high as 25% in isolates from all age groups, including those from pediatric patients. Our data indicated that there is a need to re-evaluate appropriate treatment selection for community-acquired infections in Taiwan. Identification of community reservoirs of multidrug-resistant E. coli is also warranted.
PMCID: PMC4669119  PMID: 26632819
16.  Presence of Tablet Remnants of Nevirapine Extended-Release in Stools and Its Impact on Virological Outcome in HIV-1-Infected Patients: A Prospective Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(10):e0140574.
Nevirapine extended-release (NVP-XR) taken once daily remains an effective antiretroviral agent for patients infected with HIV-1 strains that do not harbor resistance mutations. Presence of tablet remnants of NVP XR in stools was reported in 1.19% and 3.05% of subjects in two clinical trials. However, the prevalence may have been underestimated because the information was retrospectively collected in the studies.
Between April and December 2014, we prospectively inquired about the frequency of noticing tablet remnants of NVP XR in stools in HIV-1-infected patients who switched to antiretroviral regimens containing NVP XR plus 2 nucleos(t)ide reverse-transcriptase inhibitors. Patients were invited to participate in therapeutic drug monitoring of plasma concentrations of NVP 12 or 24 hours after taking the previous dose (C12 and C24, respectively) of NVP XR using high-performance liquid chromatography. The information on clinical characteristics, including plasma HIV RNA load and CD4 lymphocyte count, at baseline and during follow-up was recorded.
During the 9-month study period, 272 patients switched to NVP XR-based regimens and 60 (22.1%) noticed tablet remnants of NVP XR in stools, in whom 54.2% reported noticing the tablet remnants at least once weekly. Compared with patients who did not notice tablet remnants, those who noticed tablet remnants had a higher mean CD4 lymphocyte count (629 vs 495 cells/mm3, P = 0.0002) and a similar mean plasma HIV RNA load (1.57 vs 1.61 log10 copies/mL, P = 0.76) on switch. At about 12 and 24 weeks after switch, patients who noticed tablet remnants continued to have a similar mean plasma HIV RNA load (1.39 vs 1.43 log10 copies/mL, P = 0.43; and 1.30 vs 1.37 log10 copies/mL, P = 0.26, respectively), but had a lower median NVP C12 (3640 vs 4730 ng/mL, P = 0.06), and a similar median NVP C24 (3220 vs 3330 ng/ml, P = 0.95) when compared with those who did not notice tablet remnants.
The presence of tablet remnants of NVP XR in stools is not uncommon in HIV-1-infected Taiwanese patients receiving NVP XR-based antiretroviral regimens, which does not have an adverse impact on the virological and immunological outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4605833  PMID: 26465325
17.  Necrotizing fasciitis in patients with diabetes mellitus: clinical characteristics and risk factors for mortality 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2015;15:417.
Necrotizing fasciitis (NF) is a rapidly progressive and life-threatening infection. This study aimed to investigate the clinical characteristics and mortality- associated factors in diabetic patients.
Detailed clinical information of 165 NF cases was retrospectively collected and analyzed in National Taiwan University Hospital between January 1997 and February 2013. We documented and compared the clinical features according to the presence of underlying diabetes mellitus, and we identified risk factors associated with mortality.
There were 84 patients (51 %) with diabetes. The overall case fatality rate was 29.7 %, and we found no significant difference between the patients with or without diabetes. Compared with the nondiabetic patients, diabetic patients were older and exhibited higher serum levels of glucose and potassium on admission. Polymicrobial infection and monomicrobial NF caused by Klebsiella pneumoniae were also more frequently associated with diabetic patients. Moreover, diabetic NF patients exhibit a significantly higher chance of limb loss during hospitalization. In the combined diabetic and nondiabetic cohort, a high serum level of potassium (odds ratio, 2.2; 95 % confidence interval, 1.2 to 4.02; P = 0.011) on admission was independently associated with mortality, whereas positive blood culture on admission was associated with mortality in the diabetic cohort (odds ratio, 7.36; 95 % confidence interval, 1.66 to 32.54; P = 0.009).
Diabetic patients are more susceptible to NF caused by polymicrobial infection or K. pneumoniae, and they are more likely to receive limb amputation for infection control. Bacteraemia on admission is a significant risk factor for mortality in diabetic NF patients.
PMCID: PMC4604726  PMID: 26463900
Necrotizing fasciitis; Diabetes mellitus; Mortality; Risk factor; Soft-tissue infection
18.  Increasing incidence of recent hepatitis C virus infection among persons seeking voluntary counselling and testing for HIV and sexually transmitted infections in Taiwan 
BMJ Open  2015;5(10):e008406.
The incidence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among HIV-negative men who have sex with men (MSM) is rarely investigated in the Asia-Pacific region. We aimed to estimate the incidence rate of and factors associated with recent HCV infection among the clients seeking voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) services for HIV in Taiwan.
During 2006–2013, 12 143 clients sought VCT services for HIV. Clients with subsequent follow-up tests at an interval of 6 months or longer were included to estimate the incidence rate of HCV seroconversion. Phylogenetic analysis of HCV sequences from VCT clients and HIV-positive patients was performed.
The overall HCV seroprevalence at baseline was 0.3%. Of 2150 clients testing negative for anti-HCV antibody at baseline with a total of 5074.99 person-years of follow-up (PYFU), 17 (0.8%) developed HCV seroconversion, leading to an overall incidence rate of 3.35 per 1000 PYFU (95% CI 1.76 to 4.94), which increased from 2.28 (95% CI 0.05 to 4.51) in 2006–2009, to 3.33 (95% CI 0.86 to 5.80) in 2010 to 2011 and 4.94 per 1000 PYFU (95% CI 0.99 to 8.99) in 2012–2013; the incidence of early syphilis increased from 11.91 to 13.28 and 31.78 per 1000 PYFU in the three corresponding periods. In multivariate analysis, having HIV-positive partners (adjusted HR (AHR) =3.756; 95%CI 1.180 to 11.955) and developing a rapid plasma reagin titre of 4 or greater (AHR=9.978; 95% CI 1.550 to 64.233) were significantly associated with HCV seroconversion.
An increasing trend of recent HCV infection occurs among individuals seeking VCT services in Taiwan. Having HIV-positive partners and having syphilis are independently associated with recent HCV seroconversion.
PMCID: PMC4606383  PMID: 26463221
19.  Cholelithiasis and Nephrolithiasis in HIV-Positive Patients in the Era of Combination Antiretroviral Therapy 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(9):e0137660.
This study aimed to describe the epidemiology and risk factors of cholelithiasis and nephrolithiasis among HIV-positive patients in the era of combination antiretroviral therapy.
We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of HIV-positive patients who underwent routine abdominal sonography for chronic viral hepatitis, fatty liver, or elevated aminotransferases between January 2004 and January 2015. Therapeutic drug monitoring of plasma concentrations of atazanavir was performed and genetic polymorphisms, including UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) 1A1*28 and multidrug resistance gene 1 (MDR1) G2677T/A, were determined in a subgroup of patients who received ritonavir-boosted or unboosted atazanavir-containing combination antiretroviral therapy. Information on demographics, clinical characteristics, and laboratory testing were collected and analyzed.
During the 11-year study period, 910 patients who underwent routine abdominal sonography were included for analysis. The patients were mostly male (96.9%) with a mean age of 42.2 years and mean body-mass index of 22.9 kg/m2 and 85.8% being on antiretroviral therapy. The anchor antiretroviral agents included non-nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors (49.3%), unboosted atazanavir (34.4%), ritonavir-boosted lopinavir (20.4%), and ritonavir-boosted atazanavir (5.5%). The overall prevalence of cholelithiasis and nephrolithiasis was 12.5% and 8.2%, respectively. Among 680 antiretroviral-experienced patients with both baseline and follow-up sonography, the crude incidence of cholelithiasis and nephrolithiasis was 4.3% and 3.7%, respectively. In multivariate analysis, the independent factors associated with incident cholelithiasis were exposure to ritonavir-boosted atazanavir for >2 years (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 6.29; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.12–35.16) and older age (AOR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.00–1.09). The positive association between duration of exposure to ritonavir-boosted atazanavir and incident cholelithiasis was also found (AOR, per 1-year exposure, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.05–2.10). The associated factors with incident nephrolithiasis were hyperlipidemia (AOR, 3.97; 95% CI, 1.32–11.93), hepatitis B or C coinfection (AOR, 3.41; 95% CI, 1.09–10.62), and exposure to abacavir (AOR, 12.01; 95% CI, 1.54–93.54). Of 180 patients who underwent therapeutic drug monitoring of plasma atazanavir concentrations and pharmacogenetic investigations, we found that the atazanavir concentrations and UGT 1A1*28 and MDR1 G2677T/A polymorphisms were not statistically significantly associated with incident cholelithiasis and nephrolithiasis.
In HIV-positive patients in the era of combination antiretroviral therapy, a high prevalence of cholelithiasis and nephrolithiasis was observed, and exposure to ritonavir-boosted atazanavir for >2 years was associated with incident cholelithiasis.
PMCID: PMC4567270  PMID: 26360703
20.  Fluoroquinolones versus β-Lactam/β-Lactamase Inhibitors in Outpatients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Pneumonia: A Nationwide Population-Based Study 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(8):e0136232.
Studies on the association between antibiotic treatment and outcomes in outpatients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia are scarce. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of fluoroquinolones and β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitors for pneumonia in COPD outpatients.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study and identified 4,851 episodes of pneumonia among COPD outpatients treated with fluoroquinolones or β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitors from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database during 2002–2011. Using the propensity score analysis, 1,296 pairs of episodes were matched for the demographic and clinical characteristics. The primary outcome was pneumonia/empyema-related hospitalization or emergency department (ED) visits, and the secondary outcomes were treatment failure, all-cause mortality and medical costs within 30 days.
Compared with episodes treated with β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitors, episodes treated with fluoroquinolones had similar clinical outcomes. The rates of pneumonia/empyema-related hospitalization or ED visits were 3.9% and 3.5% in the fluoroquinolone and β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitor groups, respectively (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.11; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.74–1.66). The percentage of treatment failure and all-cause mortality were 28.2% versus 31.3% (adjusted odds ratio, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.73–1.02) and 0.5% versus 0.4% (aHR, 1.40; 95% CI, 0.45–4.41) in the fluoroquinolone and β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitor groups, respectively. The medical expenditures, including total medical costs (528 versus 455 US dollars) and pneumonia-related costs (202 vs. 155 USD) were also balanced between the two treatment groups (both P >0.05).
For pneumonia in COPD outpatients, fluoroquinolones were associated with similar clinical outcomes and medical expenditures compared with β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC4549331  PMID: 26305908
21.  High Incidences of Invasive Fungal Infections in Acute Myeloid Leukemia Patients Receiving Induction Chemotherapy without Systemic Antifungal Prophylaxis: A Prospective Observational Study in Taiwan 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0128410.
Invasive fungal infections (IFIs) is an important complication for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients receiving induction chemotherapy. However, the epidemiological information is not clear in Southeastern Asia, an area of potential high incidences of IFIs. To clarify it, we enrolled 298 non-M3 adult AML patients receiving induction chemotherapy without systemic anti-fungal prophylaxis from Jan 2004 to Dec 2009, when we applied a prospective diagnostic and treatment algorithm for IFIs. Their demographic parameters, IFI characters, and treatment outcome were collected for analysis. The median age of these patients was 51 years. Standard induction chemotherapy was used for 246 (82.6%) patients, and 66.8% of patients achieved complete remission (CR) or partial remission. The incidence of all-category IFIs was 34.6% (5.7% proven IFIs, 5.0% probable IFIs and 23.8% possible IFIs). Candida tropicalis was the leading pathogen among yeast, and lower respiratory tract was the most common site for IFIs (75.4%, 80/106). Standard induction chemotherapy and failure to CR were identified as risk factors for IFIs. The presence of IFI in induction independently predicted worse survival (hazard ratio 1.536 (1.100–2.141), p value = 0.012). Even in those who survived from the initial IFI insults after 3 months, the presence of IFIs in induction still predicted a poor long-term survival. This study confirms high incidences of IFIs in Southeastern Asia, and illustrates potential risk factors; poor short-term and long-term outcomes are also demonstrated. This epidemiological information will provide useful perspectives for anti-fungal prophylaxis and treatment for AML patients during induction, so that best chances of cure and survival can be provided.
PMCID: PMC4462587  PMID: 26061179
22.  Risk of Active Tuberculosis in HIV-Infected Patients in Taiwan with Free Access to HIV Care and a Positive T-Spot.TB Test 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0125260.
Interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs) have been used to identify individuals at risk for developing active tuberculosis (TB). However, data regarding the risk of TB development in HIV-infected patients testing positive for IGRAs remain sparse in the era of combination antiretroviral therapy.
Between 2011 and 2013, 608 HIV-infected patients without active TB undergoing T-Spot.TB testing were enrolled in this prospective observational study at a university hospital designated for HIV care in Taiwan with a declining TB incidence from 72 per 100,000 population in 2005 to 53 per 100,000 population in 2012. All of the subjects were followed until September 30, 2014. The national TB registry was accessed to identify any TB cases among those lost to follow-up.
T-Spot.TB tested negative in 534 patients (87.8%), positive in 64 patients (10.5%), and indeterminate in 10 patients (1.6%). In multivariate analysis, positive T-Spot.TB was significantly associated with older age (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.172 per 10-year increase; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.022-1.344, P=0.023), past history of TB (AOR, 13.412; 95% CI, 6.106-29.460, P<0.001), and higher CD4 counts at enrollment (AOR, per 50-cell/μl increase, 1.062; 95% CI, 1.017-1.109, P=0.007). Of the 64 patients testing positive for T-Spot.TB, none received isoniazid preventive therapy and all but 5 received combination antiretroviral therapy at the end of follow-up with the latest CD4 count and plasma HIV RNA load being 592.8 cells/μL and 1.85 log10 copies/mL, respectively. One patient (1.6%) developed active TB after 167 person-years of follow-up (PYFU), resulting in an incidence rate of 0.599 per 100 PFYU. None of the 534 patients testing negative for T-Spot.TB developed TB after 1380 PYFU, nor did the 24 patients with old TB and positive T-Spot.TB tests develop TB after 62.33 PYFU.
The risk of developing active TB in HIV-infected patients with positive T-Spot.TB receiving combination antiretroviral therapy is low in Taiwan where the national TB program has led to a sustained decrease in TB incidence.
PMCID: PMC4418700  PMID: 25938227
23.  Carbapenem-Nonsusceptible Enterobacteriaceae in Taiwan 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0121668.
A total of 1135 carbapenem-resistant (nonsusceptible) Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) isolates were recovered between November 2010 and July 2012 (517 from 2010-2011 and 618 from 2012) from 4 hospitals in Taiwan. Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) comprised 5.0% (57 isolates), including 17 KPC-2 (16 Klebsiella pneumoniae and 1 Escherichia coli), 1 NDM-1 (K. oxytoca), 37 IMP-8 (26 Enterobacter cloacae, 4 Citrobacter freundii, 4 Raoultella planticola, 1 K. pneumoniae, 1 E. coli and 1 K. oxytoca), and 2 VIM-1 (1 E. cloacae, 1 E. coli). The KPC-2-positive K. pneumoniae were highly clonal even in isolates from different hospitals, and all were ST11. IMP-8 positive E. cloacae from the same hospitals showed higher similarity in PFGE pattern than those from different hospitals. A total of 518 CRE isolates (45.6%) were positive for blaESBL, while 704 (62.0%) isolates were blaAmpC-positive, 382 (33.6% overall) of which carried both blaESBL and blaAmpC. CTX-M (414, 80.0%) was the most common blaESBL, while DHA (497, 70.6%) and CMY (157, 22.3%) were the most common blaAmpC. Co-carriage of blaESBL and blaAmpC was detected in 31 (54.4%) and 15 (26.3%) of the 57 CPE, respectively. KPC-2 was the most common carbapenemase detected in K. pneumoniae (2.8%), while IMP-8 was the most common in E. cloacae (9.7%). All KPC-2-positive CRE were resistant to all three tested carbapenems. However, fourteen of the 37 IMP-8-positive CRE were susceptible to both imipenem and meropenem in vitro. Intra- and inter-hospital spread of KPC-2-producing K. pneumoniae and IMP-8-producing E. cloacae likely occurred. Although the prevalence of CPE is still low, careful monitoring is urgently needed. Non-susceptibility to ertapenem might need to be considered as one criterion of definition for CRE in areas where IMP type carbapenemase is prevalent.
PMCID: PMC4368706  PMID: 25794144
24.  Impact of Prior Healthcare-Associated Exposure on Clinical and Molecular Characterization of Methicillin-Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia: Results From a Retrospective Cohort Study 
Medicine  2015;94(5):e474.
Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text
By virtue of medical advances and an aging society, people have increased opportunities for healthcare exposure. Little is known about the impact of healthcare exposure on the clinical features and molecular typing of methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) bacteremia. We classified the onset of MSSA bacteremia into 3 mutually exclusive categories according to the Centers for Disease Control definition, and conducted a retrospective cohort study to investigate the differences among patients with community-associated (CA), healthcare-associated community onset (HACO), and hospital onset (HO) MSSA bacteremia at a medical center from January 1, 2002 through December 31, 2011. Antibiotic susceptibilities and multilocus sequence typing of MSSA isolates were also determined.
A total of 290 patients with MSSA bacteremia, including of 165 (56.9%), 91 (31.4%), and 34 (11.7%) of HACO, HO, and CA, respectively, were studied. ST188 (29.3%) was the most common sequence type regardless of classification. Patients with HACO bacteremia were significantly older, had more solid tumors, higher Charlson scores, and more catheter-related bloodstream infections than those with CA bacteremia. The proportions of osteoarticular infections among patients with both HACO and CA bacteremia were higher than that of patients with HO bacteremia. By univariate analysis, patients with HO bacteremia had significantly higher in-hospital mortality compared to those with CA or HACO bacteremia (31.9% vs 18.8% and 20.4%). Multivariate analysis showed that Charlson score (odds ratio [OR], 1.29; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.10–1.52), septic shock (OR, 5.28; 95% CI, 2.37–11.78), liver cirrhosis (OR, 3.57; 95% CI, 1.14–11.24), receipt of β-lactams other than oxacillin and cefazolin as definitive therapy (OR, 9.27; 95% CI, 4.25–20.23), and higher oxacillin minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) (≥0.5 mg/L) (OR, 2.35; 95% CI, 1.05–5.25) of the causative pathogen were independently associated with in-hospital mortality.
In conclusion, patients with HACO bacteremia had different host factors compared with those with CA bacteremia. Infection foci varied with different onset settings. Overall, ST188 was the most predominant sequence type. Onset settings were not independently associated with outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4602728  PMID: 25654386
25.  Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Ocular Infections—Comparing the Clinical and Microbiological Characteristics between Mycobacterium abscessus and Mycobacterium massiliense 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(1):e0116236.
To analyze the clinical characteristics of nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) ocular infections and the species-specific in vitro antimicrobial susceptibility.
Material and Methods
In 2000 to 2011 at the National Taiwan University Hospital, multilocus sequencing of rpoB, hsp65 and secA was used to identify NTM isolates from ocular infections. The clinical presentation and treatment outcomes were retrospectively compared between species. Broth microdilution method was used to determine the minimum inhibitory concentrations of amikacin (AMK), clarithromycin (CLA), ciprofloxacin (CPF), levofloxacin (LVF), moxifloxacin (MXF) and gatifloxacin (GAF) against all strains. The activities of antimicrobial combinations were assessed by the checkerboard titration method.
A total of 24 NTM strains (13 Mycobacterium abscessus and 11 Mycobacterium massiliense) were isolated from 13 keratitis, 10 buckle infections, and 1 canaliculitis cases. Clinically, manifestations and outcomes caused by these two species were similar and surgical intervention was necessary for medically unresponsive NTM infection. Microbiologically, 100% of M. abscessus and 90.9% of M. massiliense ocular isolates were susceptible to amikacin but all were resistant to fluoroquinolones. Inducible clarithromycin resistance existed in 69.3% of M. abscessus but not in M. massiliense isolates. None of the AMK-CLA, AMK-MXF, AMK-GAF, CLA-MXF and CLA-GAF combinations showed synergistic or antagonistic effect against both species in vitro.
M. abscessus and M. massiliense are the most commonly identified species for NTM ocular infections in Taiwan. Both species were resistant to fluoroquinolones, susceptible to amikacin, and differ in clarithromycin resistance. Combined antimicrobial treatments showed no interaction in vitro but could be considered in combination with surgical interventions for eradication of this devastating ocular infection.
PMCID: PMC4291221  PMID: 25581038

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